The Group 1 2013 TJ Smith is shaping up as a more likely autumn option for Ortensia than a return to Dubai for a title defence in the Group 1 2013 Al Quoz Sprint.
Trainer Paul Messara will delay making a decision on the seven-year-old’s program until after Saturday’s first-up test in the Group 1 2013 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) but said he was leaning to Sydney rather than the Middle East.
“I would say Dubai is looking doubtful,” Messara said.
Messara described the TJ Smith, which will take place at Randwick on April 13, as “ideal” but it also means a possible clash with Australia’s all-conquering superstar Black Caviar.
While a trip to Dubai is all but off the table, Messara hasn’t ruled out another overseas expedition and will consider the KrisFlyer International Sprint in Singapore.
Messara delayed the Testa Rossa mare’s return a week because she wasn’t quite ready for the Lightning Stakes but believes she could have run a strong second to Black Caviar.
Ortensia has been allocated the joint topweight of 58kg for Saturday’s $400,000 Oakleigh Plate along with defending champion Woorim.
The Scone-based galloper hasn’t been seen since September when she finished her international campaign in the Sprint Cup at Haydock England.
Apart from taking out the Al Quoz Sprint, Ortensia also tasted success in the UK in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and the Group 2 King George Stakes.
The triple Group 1 winner is one of 22 nominations for the Oakleigh Plate this weekend.
Another key entrant is unbeaten Perth sprinter who will attempt to extend his winning streak to 12 in what will be his east-coast debut.
The Jim Taylor-trained gelding arrived in Melbourne on Monday night without complication and will carry 57kg in the Oakleigh Plate.
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